Shaheem: Solih working to weaken Maldives’ Islamic faith

Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed speaks to the press on January 23, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Mohamed Maavee)

Former president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is working to weaken the Maldives’ Islamic faith, said Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed on Monday, after the Parliament voted to reject his appointment.

He made the remark in a post on X, shortly after the Parliament took its vote on President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s 22-member cabinet.

“Maldives has not seen another leader such as President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who continues to work to weaken the country’s Islamic faith, in and out of office,” wrote Shaheem.

He also made a spate of angry tweets on Sunday, after the main opposition MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – passed a three-line red whip to any him and three other cabinet members approval.

Shaheem wrote that the MDP had slandered him for years, labelling him as a terrorist in 2018.

“They also impeded by job at the OIC. With the blessing of Almighty Allah, I overcame all this and reached this point in my service to the Islamic Ummah,” he said.

“In Sha Allah, this personal vendetta-fueled attempt to destroy Maldives’ democratic system will fail. President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu will remain strong in office. And the government will also remain strong in service of the people. In Sha Allah,” he wrote, in another post.

On Sunday, the MDP issued a three-line red whip to deny approval to the Shaheem, as well as Housing Minister Dr. Ali Haidar Ahmed, Attorney General Ahmed Usham, and Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed.

The long-delayed cabinet approval vote took place on Monday afternoon.

Shaheem was rejected with a vote of 31-30, with eight abstentions. Meanwhile, Haidar was rejected with a vote of 46-24, and Usham was rejected with a vote of 44-24.

But in a surprising development, Saeed, against whom the whip also applied, narrowly passed rejection with a vote of 37-32.

The remaining 18 members of the cabinet, including Defense Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and Home Minister Ali Ihusan – who the MDP threatened to also reject if the disruptions continued – received approval.